Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: Boyhood (2014)

Linklater's opus proves American cinema is alive and well.

Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss and Cathleen Sutherland
Written by Richard Linklater
Starring Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater

****

Over a decade in the making, Linklater's cinematic experiment is a captivating time capsule of a boy's formative years. Newcomer Ellar Coltrane is Mason, a normal American boy with an older sister (Linklater) and two divorced parents (Hawke and Arquette) trying to make it work. Mason - and Coltrane - grows up before our eyes, literally aging from 5 to 18 years old. In a somewhat episodic narrative, he experiences life and the challenges it throws his way, from changing grammar schools to leaving home for college. Boyhood is quite the experience for Mason, as it is for the viewer.

With a film so personal and so monumental, Linklater delivers what might be his masterpiece. The actors played these characters for a short time during many years, and they all meet the challenge of remaining consistent and faithful to their characters. Coltrane and Linklater, though unexperienced, give convincing performances with a natural screen presence, which only develops as the film progresses and the years pass. Meanwhile, veterans Hawke and Arquette are excellent in their tricky roles, offering some of the film's best moments. The structure of the film works very well, and the glimpses into this boy's life are thoughtfully rendered. While we don't get the full picture, we get a fascinating exploration of Mason's boyhood in a series of important moments. Boyhood wanders, learns and grows as we watch, and it's one of the best American films in recent memory.

Oscar Potential: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Hawke), Best Supporting Actress (Arquette), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing (Coltrane deserves serious consideration, but it'd never happen.)

12 comments:

  1. Right now, my favorite film of the year. I don't think this is Linklater's best work but certainly one of his best films.

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    1. It's also my favorite film of the year so far. Before Sunset is probably my favorite Linklater film, but this is up there with his best work.

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  2. My favourite film of the year by a long shot. Even though there are still so many movies I am very excited for that still have to be released (Foxcatcher, Birdman, Interstellar and Gone Girl just to name a few), I doubt any of them will top Boyhood. Great review!

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    1. Thanks! At this point, I can only see something like Interstellar or Birdman topping this, but right now it's my favorite as well.

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  3. This sounds wonderful. I am looking forward to the DVD release.

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    1. I hope it comes out soon on DVD then!

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  4. I really need to see this. I don't know why it's taking me this long to do that, maybe I'm scared I will be disappointed, the praise for this one is unlike anything I've seen in recent years

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    1. Yeah, I had similar reservations, but it's really unlike anything I've ever seen. Even the Up series, which I haven't watched yet, isn't contained in just one film. Linklater's accomplishment is amazing.

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  5. Man I think I'm the last person who hasn't seen this. Looks very intriguing, based from what I've read so far, seems that this one is a shoo-in for Best Picture Oscar nom.

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    1. Oh, I hope it gets a few Oscar nominations! I think it's almost locked to be nominated for Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay, but you never know.

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  6. I need this movie in my life. It feels like a movie that would KILL with the Fistis. I just love these 'real life' dramas.

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    1. It's my Best Picture/Director winner right now (as I predicted earlier this year)!! :) If it remains my #1, Linklater will likely have 7 CinSpec wins - 2 for Boyhood, 3 for Before Sunset, and 2 writing wins for Before Sunrise/Midnight. That seems like an awful lot, but I couldn't take any of them away from him!

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